Water and the Law: What does the Law say about drinking water at work?

Studies into workplace productivity consistently show that a hydrated workforce is a busy one, but what does the law say? Allowing and encouraging drink breaks and access to fresh drinking water is something we expect at work, but are employers obliged to provide this? The answer is a clear yes.
All employers have a responsibility to protect and promote employee health and safety and this includes hydration and warding of the dangers of dehydration. There is a clear duty on employers to provide clean drinking water at work. It is laid out in the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations) 1992. These regulations make it clear that employers must provide an “adequate supply of wholesome drinking water”. They also state it should be readily available and clearly marked and labelled to further ease access. Readily available may be interpreted in different ways in different workplaces. It could mean the provision of drinking fountains or could simply mean providing bottles and/or cups to allow employees to drink as and when they need to.

A note about UK tap water

The tap water available in the UK is considered amongst the cleanest in the world and it is considered safe to drink. However, there are at least 14 different contaminants found in the UK’s water supplies, including chemicals such as fluoride, aluminium and chlorine, so choosing to offer your employees just tap water is something you should consider carefully. It is tested regularly but not all contaminants can be removed and may be considered fine in low doses.
Water supplies should also be unlimited, and employees should feel free and comfortable to get a drink whenever they need it. A hydrated workforce is a happier, more productive one that the whole business can benefit from. We’d also assert there are real benefits to offering fresh, filtered water in the workplace with well-positioned water dispensers ensuring instant access for all.

Why filtered water is good for the workplace

Opting to provide water dispensers throughout the workplace more than satisfies the legal requirement to keep your employees hydrated and offer easy and unlimited access to fresh water. There are also many other benefits to opting for this convenient way of keeping your workforce fully hydrated including

1. Taste

Most people agree that the taste of filtered water is much fresher and cleaner than tap water. This is due to the filtration process removing chlorine and bacteria which can give water its flat or chemical taste. What’s more, most dispensers have a cooling feature allowing for chilled, cooler water every time.

2. Toxin removal

As already mentioned, the filters within water dispensers remove a wide range of different toxins and contaminants including heavy metals and lead, as well as chlorine and bacteria. This ensures a safer drinking experience, as well as that better taste.

3. Cut down on plastic waste

By providing a reliable source of drinking water in the office, staff don’t need to bring in their own plastic water bottles, or even worse, buy bottled water every day. Swapping single-use plastics for a regular and reliable supply of fresh water via workplace water dispensers is beneficial to the environment and you can even encourage employees to invest in their own bottle or cup to minimise waste further.

4. Convenient and time saving

Many of the water dispensers in our range can deliver chilled, ambient, and boiling water, making it quick and easy to enjoy a hot beverage as well as cold water. A quick brew is quicker than ever before and adds to the efficient running of your workplace.
Employers can do the minimum and ensure they’re providing safe drinking water via taps in kitchens and bathrooms in the workplace. Alternatively, you can offer fresh, filtered water at convenient spots around the workplace for both ease and convenience